Ms. Stout has responded in a long comment to one of my previous posts, so in an attempt to be thorough, I will respond here. Her statements are in block quotes.
You haven’t established that Louisa was actually sexually involved with Joseph. Her brother-in-law’s testimony (I believe delivered e=during the Temple Lot case in the 1890s) could not definitely confirm that sex had occurred. On the other hand, it did confirm that Joseph had engaged in a ceremony that joined him in covenant with Louisa and that Louisa and Joseph spent time together.
I don’t have to establish that Louisa was sexually involved with Joseph. What I am saying is that the only evidence we have supports a sexual relationship. You, on the other hand, are asserting a nonsexual relationship based on, well, nothing. As I noted, you accept at face value the accusations that Sarah Pratt had a sexual relationship with John Bennett, even though those accusations are based on a couple of vague statements and two demonstrably false affidavits. On the other hand, when a woman says she had “carnal intercourse” with Joseph Smith and spent the night in his bed, you dismiss that. Why? I have no idea.
Louisa was Joseph’s only plural wife for many months, and there was no reason to think Joseph wouldn’t have been sexual with her, or continued to be sexual with her for the remainder of his life. Except she never gets pregnant during Joseph’s life. But once Brigham starts openly promoting the idea that plural wives should be full wives, Louisa gives birth to five children in the five years before her death of cancer.
First of all, we don’t know that she never got pregnant during Joseph’s life. There’s no evidence one way or the other. We can say that there’s no evidence she bore a child in his lifetime. That’s different. As for Brigham Young, I would like to see some documentation that the idea that they were “full wives” originated with him.
Back to Joseph Ellis Johnson and his testimony. There are numerous words left of of that record, as transcribed. I presume the words were not present in the original record. But I honestly don’t think it makes sense to assert that Brother Johnson would have accused Joseph of frigging his mother-in-law in that context. The written testimony is ambiguous, but context refutes the interpretation others have put forward. I give props to Todd Compton for not including Mary Heron [Snider] as one of Joseph’s wives, though he knew it was possible, based on the fact that he lists her among alleged wives that he finds not plausible.
I have no idea what Mary Heron’s relationship was with Joseph Smith, but the explanation you give (the bastards frigged my mother-in-law) makes no sense in context and is supported by, again, nothing.
John, you have shared the fact that you are a technical writer. But you have not supported your repeated accusations that many women described the “fact” that they were involved in sexual relationships with Joseph, or the “fact” that many women claimed they thought their child was engendered by Joseph.
We can only go by what the women said, and many of them did say they had sex with Joseph. And some have corroborating testimony from people who saw them go into a bedroom and spend the night with Joseph Smith. I provided the testimony, which is apparently ambiguous only to you and maybe the Prices. Also, Sylvia Lyon’s statement to her daughter is important because she said it only to Josephine, not to any of her other children. If it had been a question of sealing, there’s no reason Sylvia would have said it only to one of her children. And Presendia Buell said she wasn’t sure if her child was Joseph’s or her husband’s. Her confusion makes sense only if she were having sex with both men.
This is not difficult stuff.
You take issue with the narrative I thread through my framework. Yet no one here has simply assembled facts. We all have constructed a narrative that helps us make sense of the facts we believe are on the table. In the case of the current narrative, originated by Fawn Brodie and repeated with variations for many decades now, one can have the mental comfort of feeling like there is no other reasonable interpretation of the facts.
Unfortunately, that’s not what you’re doing. A good historian or researcher can attempt to fill in gaps in the historical record, but their main thesis cannot depend on assertions not based in documentary evidence. That’s the problem with your series: you have an investigation, a set of victims, and nonsexual marriages based on nothing more than your own desire. Say what you will about Brodie, she at least had documentary evidence for her thesis.
But just as Fawn wove a web of inference to connect the facts, I too have woven a web of inference. Fawn did not have access to as much data as I have, and those who rebutted Fawn did not have access to as much data as I have. Unfortunately, this means their rebuttals, in light of what we know now, appear to be naive and under-informed.
Fawn Brodie’s biggest problem was her attempt to get inside Joseph’s head in a sort of psychological biography, which was fashionable at the time. That said, no one disputes the documentary evidence she provided, only her conclusions based on that evidence. Your problem is that your conclusions are not based on documentary evidence. You have woven a web of inference out of whole cloth, not from evidence.
However that does not mean that Fawn Brodie and those who have followed closely in her shadow are right, just because the faithful of a former era hadn’t studied the details and therefore didn’t know what they were talking about.
What’s interesting is that faithful historians, such as Richard Bushman, frequently use Brodie as a source.
I will give you props for not spewing grossly false information, which is what I have encountered in other settings. You are merely unable to consider that there is another reasonable explanation for the facts on the table, because you are unable to separate the facts from the inferences and therefore are unable to call those inferences into question.
I have not said anything false, grossly or not. Please do not assert that I can’t consider another reasonable explanation. That is not the case. If there were any evidence to support the alternate explanation, I would be happy to consider it. In fact, when I was asked to take a look at your work, my first thought was that this was an interesting approach, and I was looking forward to see how you arrived at your conclusions. I was, however, disappointed, because your explanation depends on inferences without facts. One can separate facts and inferences, but the inferences need to have a basis in fact, or at least documentary evidence. Yours do not.
You and Andrew are challenged by my authoritative manner. Which is something I have experienced my whole life, being a woman in a man’s profession (engineering/science). But if I didn’t cowtow to world-renowned experts in my past when I believed myself to be right, I have no idea why I would cowtow to the two of you and your audience.
Oh, for pity’s sake. Now you’re calling me a sexist? Really? I have no problem with an authoritative manner from anyone, least of all from you. What I have a problem with is dishonest attempts to rewrite history, which is what we have here.